A former presidential candidate and currently All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has cautioned political gladiators, especially presidential candidates of the various political parties against further widening the existing gulf and divisions in the country in pursuit of their 2023 ambition.
In a release from his media office in Abuja on Sunday, Olawepo-Hashim urged the candidates to address onoy issues germane to nationhood, rather than inflame passions of tribal and religious anger among Nigerians.
He lamented that political supporters were driving campaigns and marketing their candidates via intimidation, threat, disinformation and blackmail, without any word of caution from their principals.
The presidential candidate of the People’s Trust in the 2019 general election, recalled that “even before independence, Nigeria had a rich history of politics and political campaigns, which gave the electorates big opportunity to interrogate the candidates and party programmes before making informed choices and decisions.
“Campaigns were built around issues which had been properly elucidated in the party’s manifestoes.
“Parties were also held accountable for their programmes and the candidates toed the line of the parties in their conducts and utterances.”
According to him, “in the First Republic, the four dominant parties: the AG, the NPC, the NCNC and NEPU were distinct and original in form and deeds before the electorate.
“Ditto in the Second Republic when we had the NPN, the UPN, the NPP, GNPP, PRP and the NAP which were known by their programmes and issues raised in their campaigns.”
He lamented that “what is however at play presently is sadly at variance with the good old days. While the country is presently held down by the demons of insecurity, energy/power, education and unemployment crisis, the parties and the political actors are dancing around these critical issues.”
He also maintained that “sadly the North is currently being divided between Christians and Muslims and not- Muslim -enough, while the South is been ripped apart by propaganda that pitch Christians of the South West against their Muslim siblings; on the one hand, Yorubas against the Ibos on the other hand as well as the old against the young.”
The parties he said, have lost their voices and supremacy to the rampaging candidates and their army of supporters.
“The point is that there is danger ahead if this monster is not tamed.
“Our democracy faces the danger of been trapped by a self inflicted convulsion which may damage the current fragile ethno-religious situation in the country,” he added.
Olawepo-Hashim argued that the “nation can not afford to crash this democratic process on the altar of narrow self-interest by politicians who are merely on a mission of personal ambition and self-aggrandizement.”